Summary

Everyone hates the perfect family. So you’ll love the Battles.
Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn’t understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologist, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey - inside, and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children.
Dora is about to hit the big 18... and about to hit anyone who annoys her, especially her precocious younger brother, Peter, who has a chronic Oscar Wilde fixation.
Then there’s Dad, who’s just, well, Dad.
This is the story of a modern family, all living in their own separate bubbles and lurching towards meltdown. It is for anyone who has ever shared a home with that weird group of strangers we call relations.
Oh, and there’s a dog. Called Poo.
©2010 Dawn French (P)2010 Penguin Books Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 12-11-10

Indeed a whole lot of marvellous

I started the book a little apprehensively. I mean Dawn French is clearly a very funny lady, loved by millions and I guess moving those talents to a novel, was putting her reputation on the line.

No such fears. The book is excellent. It is broken down into manageable short chapters in a diary format, which make it a very easy listen. Flicking between the characters doesn't detract from you getting to understand them and I defy anyone not to relate to at least one of the members of the modern family. Mum's having a mid-life crisis, an eccentric son, a rebelious daughter addicted to Facebook and dad, somewhat the quiet one (but not for long!)

If you are a middle-aged mum with a teenage daughter I suspect you are going to be reflecting on how true Mo's life is, with all the crisis management and day to day worries she faces.

It's wonderful to hear Dawn reading the book too and expressing her own characters. I can't help wonder how much of it she bases on her own experiences. The book comes together beautifully for the finale.

Dawn French, take a bow.

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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jane on 12-12-10

Took a while but loved it!

Loved, loved this one. I really like Dawn French and I'd heard great things about this book but initially I found it a bit humdrum. Then suddenly it took off and I loved it. The characters are beautically observed and Dawn's narration is just perfect. I thought the plotline developed really well and it wasn't what I was expecting at all. A poignant ending, I'd really recommend this.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By rosie on 17-11-10

A big bit marvellous.

This audio book is absolutely delightful. Centred on three members of the Buttle family, they each take turns giving us snippets from their diaries, revealing extraordinary tales of everyday life. The emotions, journeys and revelations are beautifully written and superbly narrated by Dawn French. You will become wrapped up in the characters eccentricities and learn to love them, faults and all. I laughed, cried and laughed a lot more. Well done Dawn; you certainly have given us a marvellous book.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jamie on 11-02-11

Marvellous but a Tiny Bit Long

This book was exquisitely and expertly narrated by the author, the highly marvellous Dawn French (whose early comedy sketch with Jennifer Saunders of a disordered mother and daughter eventually led to Absolutely Fabulous).

The novel is told in the voices of four members of the Battle family -- 50 year old mom having a midlife crisis; still-rivers-run-deep dad; 16 year old son with an Oscar Wilde fixation; 18 year old daughter Dora always about to hyperventilate in absolute, outright, oh-my-actual-god indignation. The story came together powerfully well in the last chapters and the ending was highly satisfying.

However, I did find the first half of the book slow. Far too much reflection and exposition by the characters, not enough story. Except for Dora. Dawn French's characterization is so rich and funny that even Dora's most self-absorbed, outraged uptalk is a treat. I could listen to Dora talk about nothing all day long. In fact, I kind of miss her now.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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